Thursday, 10 November 2016

Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day, Equal Value, Equal Rights, Equality, Strong Women

I am extremely lucky to work in the industry that I do.

Working in a largely female dominated industry means that I don't face the discrimination that so many other women still face. Be that regarding opportunities, treatment or fair pay. 

I work for a company where my General Manager is female. The company I previously worked for was founded by a woman. I spend my working life surrounded by women making a name for themselves, juggling their careers and families amazingly. Women that continue to be inspirational professionals and while fearlessly using their own voices. As well as this, the men that work within the industry, or at least those that I have worked directly with, not only respect the women they work with, but never acknowledge any reason that they should be treated any differently just because of their gender.

Not every woman is this lucky.

Despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act was amended in 1983 by the UK to make it illegal for pay to be determined by gender there still exists a pay gap between men and women of 13.9%. 

Equal Pay Day falls today, November 10th. One of the few 'awareness' days that changes its date year to year as a living representation of the pay difference between men and women. The 13.9% pay gap means that women in full time jobs effectively work for free from today to the end of the year. This year, Equal Pay Day falls just one day later than it did in 2015, which shows the lack of progress that has been made in the past year to diminish the gap. 

In my opinion, today is about more than just gender discrimination regarding pay. It's about highlighting the fact that, today, still in 2016, women are still treated so differently to men. Women are denied opportunities not based on whether they are capable of them but because they are not male.

Barbara Kingslover highlighted this in the Guardian this week when talking about the US election. She said 'If anyone still doubts that inexperienced man gets promoted ahead of the qualified woman, you can wake up now!'

Without this becoming a post about the US election, I think it's important to highlight, especially given today, that a man with extremely sexist views has now been granted one of the highest positions of power in the world. If that doesn't show that we need to do so much more for women's rights I'm not sure what will. 

Today many people will be following the lead of the team at Stylist Magazine, will be leaving their offices 13.9% earlier than normal, around 3:34pm. Not everyone is in the position to do this, but doing as little as speaking to someone about Equal Pay Day or simply tweeting #EqualPayDay can help highlight the issue and raise a little awareness of the issues at hand. Today is about starting the conversation and then tomorrow is the start of a countdown to the next Equal Pay Day, whenever it may be.

Personally, as someone bringing a little girl into this world very soon, I want to do everything I can to make sure she, and all future generations of women, don't have to struggle to prove their worth. Equal value should be a given regardless of your gender.

What are you doing today to help bring awareness for Equal Value?

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